The Maple Ridge Fire Department will give Lt. Dennis TeBoekhorst a full honours funeral, with a parade expected to draw many firefighters and other emergency services personnel from outside the city.
“I would not be surprised to see firefighters from all over – in and out of province, and even from the U.S.” said Fire Chief Howard Exner. “That’s our tradition.”
The parade will begin on Nov. 9, beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the Haney Place loop around Memorial Peace Park. Led by the Maple Ridge Fire Department, it will proceed south on 224th Street to the Lougheed Highway, then west to the Maple Ridge Baptist Church at the corner of 222nd Street.
A celebration of life will follow at 10:30 a.m. in the church.
TeBoekhorst collapsed on Oct. 21 after suffering a massive heart attack while fishing, and died on Oct. 26.
He had graduated from Maple Ridge secondary in 1992, and in 1999 became a “very, very active volunteer” firefighter, said Exner.
TeBoekhorst became a career firefighter in 2006, and was part of the department’s training division.
In 2010, he donated a kidney to his daughter, Grace, who had been diagnosed with a potentially fatal kidney disease. She was on life support for three weeks, and suffered complete renal failure.
His donation saved her life.
“And in his death, this hero continues to give selflessly. His liver, lungs, corneas, remaining kidney, and other tissues will go on to give new life to 10 recipients, exactly what Dennis would have wanted,” Elaine Yong wrote on a fundraising page to benefit the late firefighter’s children, Grace and Calym.
“Now we are asking for your help in supporting his young children with a scholarship fund,” Yong added. “Dennis was only 42 years old and leaves behind a huge hole that can never be replaced. But we can make it a little easier by ensuring [his wife] Melissa doesn’t have to worry about their financial future.”
After five days, the fund had received more than $11,000. The goal is $30,000.
The Pitt Meadows Fire Rescue Members Association contributed almost $2,000, saying: “Our thoughts and prayers remain with your families and colleagues in this time of grief. We are stronger together and you can count on the members of Pitt Meadows Fire to be there in your time of need.”
Mike Huber made a donation and wrote: “A real life hero. I feel so privileged to call you a friend. Today my heart is heavy yet my spirit bright as I am now able to see that you shared the same genuine person with not just one but every person whom you came in contact with. Your life and your memories will live on and continue to impact those in a positive way. Rest In Peace my friend.”
Holly Russell Richardson also made a donation and said: “Dennis was a true hero and will be missed by all. His passing is a devastating loss to his family as well as the entire community.”
• The page can be found at https://fundrazr.com/forDennis.